People around the world celebrated International Women's Day on March 8. In some parts of the world, the day is designated a statutory holiday, such as in Russia, Uganda and China. In Hong Kong, all women can take a half day off on March 8. Just imagine if all the women in the world took the day off at once. I expect the world might stop turning. Then women's hard work would really be appreciated and recognized. For some, it would be a day's break from the office, the sweatshop, the fields or a caregiving role. Or in an ideal world, it could be a day's relief from domestic abuse or illness.
Climbing the corporate ladder while juggling other responsibilities can be exhausting. So what women really need is a day set aside to pause, reflect on women's successes and rejuvenate so they would be ready to get back at it the following day. It could be a day to finally start a hobby she has been meaning to do for herself. A day to visit an elderly woman in a home. A day to finally pick up the phone and call old friends and relatives. When you work throughout the day March 8, there is not much time to reflect on how far women have come, how much they have accomplished and how much still needs to be fought for. Women are still facing sexual assault, abuse, discrimination and harassment. It is a day to finally take all women seriously.
The other option would be to give men the day off as well on women's day, so they could reflect on and celebrate the women who have made a difference in their lives.
Conveniently, the day falls during an expansive space of time where no other statutory holiday falls in B.C., between Jan. 1 and Good Friday in April. That is a long stretch for us women to power through, especially during the dreary winter weather.
A Statistics Canada report released this week found that a disproportionate share of the population that earns a low income are women, and that women's average earnings are still less than men's. At the same time, women are becoming more represented in stronger roles in professional fields, it reports.
According to the Stats Can press release, "The report found that the increased participation of women in the paid work force has been one of the most significant social trends in Canada in the past quarter century. In2004,58 per cent of all women aged15and over were part of the paid work force, up from42 per cent in1976. Women accounted for47 per cent of the employed work force in2004, up from37 per cent in1976."
And yet we are still earning less on average. Not good for the morale. If we are going to work in professional fields, pay us an appropriate amount or honour our progress with a statutory holiday.